If your child has a serious disease like diabetes, it changes both their life and yours, but with expert management children can live a full and happy life. Gina Labovitz, MD, FAAP, of Ross Bridge Medical Center Pediatrics in Hoover, Alabama, is a board-certified pediatrician with considerable experience of helping children who have either Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes. Call the clinic today to schedule a consultation for your child, or book an appointment online.
Diabetes is a problem with your endocrine system that means your body can’t make use of sugar in the blood in the way it should.
As part of a healthy endocrine system, the pancreas produces a hormone called insulin. Insulin plays a crucial role in regulating blood glucose, making sure that the sugar in your blood gets to the cells to provide the energy you need and keep your organs functioning correctly.
If the pancreas doesn’t make any insulin, doesn’t make enough, or can’t use what it makes, then blood sugar can become too low or too high, causing both short- and long-term health problems.
Until the recent past, children and adolescents were most likely to develop Type 1 diabetes, so much so that it was commonly known as juvenile diabetes. Type 1 diabetes develops when the immune system mistakenly attacks the insulin-making cells in the pancreas, destroying them so your body can no longer make its own insulin.
Type 2 diabetes was previously more common in middle-aged and older adults and was referred to as adult-onset diabetes. Type 2 diabetes is a result of the pancreas making too little insulin, or your body is unable to use what it makes. The main cause of Type 2 diabetes is obesity, and because rates of childhood obesity are rising, so too are cases of children developing Type 2 diabetes.
A blood test called the A1C can identify diabetes quickly and accurately.
If your child has Type 1 diabetes, they need insulin therapy to manage their condition. Type 1 diabetes can’t be cured, but it can be managed successfully.
If your child has Type 2 diabetes, the most important action to take is to make changes to their diet and encourage them to exercise more so that they lose weight. Reducing excess weight has a significant effect on managing blood sugar levels, as does maintaining fitness through exercise. You should also help your child stay healthy by giving them a nutritious, well-balanced diet without too many saturated fats and sugars.
Your child may need medication in some cases, but diet and exercise are the healthiest and most effective ways to manage Type 2 diabetes.
If your child is overweight and you need help to design a diet and exercise plan, or you think they may have diabetes and would like to have them tested, call Ross Bridge Medical Center Pediatrics today, or book an appointment online.